*It will be remembered that John Speer of the Lawr
Leavenworth Daily Times
January 28, 1864
*It will be remembered that John Speer of the Lawrence Tribune lost two sons by Quantrill's massacre at Lawrence. One was found and buried. No trace has been discovered of the other, and the father calls again upon any person who may have information in regard to the missing boy to communicate with him at Lawrence...."The public well know that one of the sons of the editor of this paper was killed in the Lawrence massacre. Him we buried. He rests with the martyred dead on the mount above Lawrence. It was a terrible stroke to his parents to part with that dear boy. But a sadder affliction was the loss of our second son, Robert Speer, whose body has never been found. We have heard numberless rumors, and have spared no pains to follow them up, in hopes that the child might be found. The last we saw of him, we put our arm affectionately on his shoulder and asked him to see that our papers were well mailed, while we went to a railroad meeting. David Purington, a neighbor's son, once our apprentice, a faithful, good boy, assisted him. Finishing their work, they went to the Republican printing office, were David usually slept, to keep each other company. They were heard to come in, by a gentleman and his wife occupying an adjoining room. The same gentleman broke the door between the two apartments...to alarm the boys when the murderers came, and found their bed empty. A colored boy, who thinks he knew them well, saw them in the cellar. A neighbor says he saw Robert pursue the rebels -- another says he saw David after they left. Reports reach us that they were prisoners and shot -- others that Robert was hung by the murderers. As the two boys were known to be very anxious to join the army, some think they may have pursued Quantrill and, when our volunteer forces were turned back at the Missouri line, with boyish ambition and heroism they might have joined the forces of General Ewing. Others think they might have left to join the army the night before Quantrill came, and be still alive. Every place where they might possibly be dead, every well and cistern, has been searched in vain. Robert was dressed in mixed plaid pants, linen coat, fine French boots, and an India hat. To his mother his clothing would be easily recognized. She dreams of him in a handsome blue soldier's dress, and hopes, even against hope, that he may live. Money is nothing compared with the lives of those dear children. All that we have would we freely give for the mere identity of his remains, if dead. But we have offered $100 as a sufficient remuneration to pay any person for taking pains to hunt up facts in regard to any body that might be found, or to give any information of him, if living. Freely, gladly would we give it. We would respectfully ask editors to copy this notice, that nothing may be left undone; and any person having information, to communicate it."
Article ID 4519